A Connecticut man has filed a federal lawsuit claiming that New Haven police were actually looking for his neighbor when they mistakenly raided his home.
Joseph Adams of Peck Street says city police officers tied him up and mocked him for being gay, physically injured him and caused extensive damage to his apartment in a botched operation to capture a murder suspect conducted one year ago.
“After police ran into the wrong unit and left it in shambles, they made fun of my client for being a homosexual,” Adams’ lawyer Max Rosenberg said. “They were imitating him and his mannerisms and mocking him. He was tied up with zip ties for over two hours.”
The lawsuit, filed in US District Court, asserts that after beating the door to Adam’s apartment off its hinges, police used flash bang grenades causing significant damage to the residence burning rugs, blankets and the ceiling.
According to the lawsuit:
Adams was in his bedroom watching television in his Peck Street apartment on Oct. 21, 2013, when he heard a loud noise at about 11:59 p.m.
Adams looked over a railing and “saw two gun barrels.” Believing he was being robbed, he ran toward his bedroom, then heard police yell, “New Haven police, come the (expletive) down!”
Adams then walked downstairs with his hands behind his head, and when he reached the bottom, three people picked him up and threw him violently on the ground, causing him pain on the right side of his neck, the lawsuit says. Police put his hands behind his back, then zip-tied them tightly.
While Adams was tied up on the floor, he could see his carpet and sofa burning from a flash bomb police had thrown. He heard police use additional flash bombs and heard officers kicking in doors around the apartment, according to the lawsuit.
Police asked him “Where is he?” and Adams continued to tell them he didn’t know what they were talking about and he was alone in the apartment. Later, someone on a megaphone outside told all residents to exit their apartments.
After Adams had been detained for about 2½ hours, he was cut free. The removal of the straps was painful, as police had to make the straps tighter to remove them.
Mr. Adams saw one officer outside, in his direct view, effeminately imitating a homosexual person and prancing about. It was apparent to Mr. Adams that the officer was mocking (him) as a gay man.
The city of New Haven, the Police Department, police Chief Dean Esserman and other officers are all named as defendants in the lawsuit. Adams was never charged with a crime or incarcerated.
He is seeking compensatory and punitive damages for false arrest, false imprisonment, excessive force, negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligence.
New Haven Police have refused to comment on the pending litigation but on Tuesday, city spokesman Laurence Grotheer released a statement saying, “City officials are aware [the] lawsuit was filed and will respond accordingly at the appropriate time.”